I’m confused (2)

Sir "Ming" Campbell, on a special edition of Any Questions on Wednesday evening, explained why Mark Oaten could no longer serve as the front bench spokesperson on Home Affairs:

Dimblebore: Does it matter if a member of your party with a responsible job has had a relationship with a prostitute of either sex? Does that matter for the discharge of the job or not? …

Merciless: I think it matters, or it may well be thought to matter, if you are the Home Affairs Spokesman and you have to comment about prostitution.

What new principle is this? If you go to a doctor, are you disqualified from being your party’s Health spokesperson?  If you drive a car, are you forbidden to be the party’s transport spokesperson? Why does visiting a prostitute disqualify Mr Oaten from speaking for his party about prostitution?

2 thoughts on “I’m confused (2)”

  1. Stating the obvious

    Because prostitution is not generally accepted to be an ordinary commercial operation, still less a public service. There is a genuine issue about the extent to which prostitution involves an unequal expression of power, even abuse, and therefore an debate over the extent to which clients, as well as prostitutes, should be subject to sanction; especially at the moment, with a long-delayed review and proposals for reform coming up for debate.

  2. As you doubtless know, prostitution is not illegal in the UK.  Many – possibly most – commercial transactions occur between people of unequal power: so however undesirable you find that state of affairs, it is not limited to prostitution.  

    When the fox-hunting legislation was before Parliament, which made hunting with dogs illegal, nobody said that an MP who had ever been fox hunting could not be the spokesperson for his or her party, even though hunting was deemed sufficiently repugnant to make it illegal.  So why should an MP who visits a prostitute, which is not illegal and is not likely to become illegal, be unable to speak on that topic?   

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